Aside from analysing LinkedIn profiles and groups for my clients and using LinkedIn to identify, research and qualify potential clients for my own VA business, I also used to write loads of LinkedIn profiles as part of my CV writing business – so when it comes to LinkedIn, I’ve seen it all! There are good profiles and truly dreadful profiles – here’s what a good one looks like:
Why do you need a LinkedIn profile?
- Because the point of LinkedIn is to act as a place where people can do business with each other.
- You can write loads more on your LinkedIn profile than you can on your CV and you get to show exactly how you’re good at what you do and why someone might want to work with you.
- LinkedIn groups not only provide a ton of information but are full of people who would hire you, collaborate with you or recommend you.
- LinkedIn’s SEO is so good that if someone Googles you, your LinkedIn profile will come up at the top of page one and before your own website.
- If you’re a freelancer then people will Google you.
- You can’t use my Method of How to Get New Clients without a good LinkedIn profile – it’s part and parcel of the entire method.
As a Virtual Assistant you need to make sure that when someone looks at your LinkedIn profile they clearly and quickly see what you do, who you do it for and whether you’re any good at it because nobody will hire you if they’re not sure exactly what you do for people and why that might be valuable to them.
This article will ensure they do.
How to write a great LinkedIn profile
Don’t bombard everyone with your updates
Before you even start to fiddle with your actual profile, go to your Settings and change what people can see about you otherwise everyone will get a notification each time you change anything and press save.
It’s turned on by default and it’s really annoying, so click ‘Me’ under your profile photo, choose ‘Privacy & Settings’, then click the ‘Privacy’ tab and then click ‘Sharing Profile Edits’ to turn off notifications.
Decide who the profile is for
Who do you want reading your profile and what do you want them to know about you?
Don’t just list your job description – summarise the skills you used, the outcome of your efforts and any key achievements so people can see your value.
Mention the types of clients you worked with, the size of budgets you managed, the amount of people you oversaw and the level of return you provided so people can see the scope of your experience and how good you are at what you do.
Complete ALL of your profile
If you haven’t bothered to fill out every section and don’t even have a photo then you look lazy and unprofessional at best. You can always hide your profile in the settings until you’ve completed it.
Use the Summary section
This is the most important section as this is where you outline what it is you actually do for a living and why someone might want to work with you.
State your value and what you want to be known for here because you can’t rely on people having the time to scour through your profile.
Download 10 LinkedIn summary examples from my Downloads and Training page.
Don’t look like you’ve just been arrested
Make sure you don’t look like an idiot in your profile photo. Don’t post a group one where you can clearly see you’ve cropped other people out, don’t look drunk or like you’re in a karaoke bar, and don’t have one that looks like a police mug shot.
A friendly head shot is fine – one that looks like you in real life, one where you seem approachable, and certainly one that looks professional.
Add a good background image
You can now upload a 1400 x 425 background image which means you get the chance to look slick and market your business at the same time. If you’re not sure what image to use then Google ‘blue LinkedIn background’ and use one of those images while you decide
Something professional is better than nothing at all.
Write a great Headline
This is the sentence that appears next to your photo which should say what you do in a nutshell as it’s the first thing people read. You only get a set amount of characters so make it snappy.
(There are a few ways to write Headlines which I’ve outlined at the bottom of this post)
Don’t waste your career history
Many people spent years and shed blood, sweat and tears at a company only to either just promote it in the info box, write out their job description or write nothing at all about what they did during their time there… nothing!
Write what you actually did, so instead of just saying ‘marketing and promotions’ list specifics such as “designing and writing branded materials including websites, flyers, posters, trade stand banners” etc.
You worked your arse off for these companies so make them work for you now.
I once saw someone say on their profile: “I’m here to help and asking questions is for free. If you would like to pick my brains on any of my areas of expertise listed below, or ask me any other questions, then just connect through LinkedIn. I’m always happy to share my skills and knowledge with no obligation.”
This was a brilliant way to provide an easy reason to contact him, showed he was generous and it made him look really good.
This is an important one if you want to offer event/project support or you want to work with project/event managers. If you worked on projects for clients in your past or present career then elaborate on them.
People want to see how good you are at what you do so outline the brief/client/task, what your actions were (to demonstrate you know what you’re doing, your working processes and how you approach problems) then state what the outcome was and give figures and percentages if relevant or applicable.
When you’re editing your profile, you’ll see the option to add or link to external documents, photos, sites, videos, and presentations. This is great for pdf testimonials, examples of work, images etc.
Endorsements are the skills that LinkedIn suggests you have to your connections and might not be things you actually want to be endorsed for.
It’s best to have a select skill set rather than a load of random ones as you might end up getting endorsed for things you don’t want to do any more and it can dilute your image. So make sure the skills are key things you want to be known for rather than that you’re good with Excel for example.
People who receive a lot of Recommendations (testimonials to you and me) are people who have given a lot so spend time writing them for others and even ask people to write them for you. People are impressed by testimonials and you can also add them to your website later.
Ask your contact if they can specifically mention a skill or outline how you work as it’s better for a testimonial to say that you are efficient, reliable and cost-effective than that you were friendly or nice to work with.
Rename your contact links
If someone clicks your Website or Twitter link does it go to an old website, the site of a company you no longer work for, a shonky Twitter account you haven’t used in months or is the link even broken?
You can also change the words ‘company website’ to the actual name of your company which looks much better. You do this by clicking the pencil on the ‘Contact and Personal Info’ section in the right hand sidebar, selecting ‘other’ from the dropdown menu instead of the default words Company Website, then simply typing in the name of your website.
Have good connections
If you only have four connections then it looks like nobody likes you or you haven’t bothered to find anyone you know. Your contacts should also have profile photos as faceless ones in your Skills and Endorsement sections looks poor.
Personalise every connection request
It’s lazy and rude not to and it only takes a second.
I will rarely accept a request from a person I don’t know and who hasn’t even bothered to take the time to tell me why they want to be my professional online mate.
Hide your competition
Go to the privacy settings and click on the ‘viewers of this profile also viewed’ bit so that other LinkedIn users with the same job description as you (your competition) don’t appear in the sidebar when someone is viewing your profile. You want them to contact you and not click away to someone else.
Turn off group notifications
When you join a group, go to the group settings and make sure you opt out of getting an email notification every time a member blows their nose. You can do this when you join the group or later from your main profile page.
To edit this from the main profile page, click on the word ‘Work’ under the 9 little boxes to the right of your profile photo in the toolbar, select ‘Groups’, then ‘My Groups’ then click the cog to the right of each group and choose ‘Group Settings’.
Use a different email address for notifications
I personally have a separate email address for LinkedIn connect requests and group notifications. I don’t want those “hey look what so-and-so is up to” emails clogging up my business inbox so I have a Hotmail address just for business newsletters and other social media updates.
You don’t have to do this of course, but you can change this in the general settings or in the individual group settings as outlined above.
How to write each job role
I’ve found the best way to do this is to give a brief intro into each company or role so people know what the company actually does and it’s positioning and then say “my role included:” then list the things you did.
With 28 international offices, Example Company is one of the world’s largest and most respected law firms and provides impartial advice to national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments. My role here involved:
– Stuff I did
– Stuff I did
Example Company is a leading international insurance organisation serving commercial, institutional and individual customers in more than 130 countries. My role was to provide accurate reporting and admin assistance to 40 underwriters and included:
– Stuff I did
– Stuff I did
Examples of good Headings
Unless you create your own Headline, LinkedIn will just bring in the generic wording from your current job…
I often change my own Headline as there are so many ways you could write it:
You could list your skills as keywords:
e.g. Marketing | Strategy | SEO | Branding
e.g. Newsletters | Autoresponders | Sales Pages | Blogging
e.g. Travel | Concierge | Events | Admin
You could write a strapline:
e.g. I give business owners more hours in the day
e.g. Creating order from chaos since 2003
e.g. Smoothing the way for Spanish companies wishing to enter the UK market
You could write a sentence:
e.g. Virtual Assistant providing admin, social media and marketing support to small businesses and consultants
e.g. Professional VA specialising in high-converting newsletters and sales pages
e.g. Virtual Assistant providing travel, admin, email and diary management to busy international coaches, authors and trainers
Examples of good Summaries
You can get 10 Example LinkedIn Summaries from my downloads page (this is a paid download I’m afraid cos hard work went into putting them together!)
- Check out LinkedIn profiles of other Virtual Assistants to get ideas and see what works and what looks rubbish.
- Constantly keep in mind “who do I want to read this and what do I want to them to know about me?” Then tell them just that. Your ideal client needs to be able to quickly and clearly see what you do and why they might want to hire you.
- Potential clients need to see if you’re any good, so get as many testimonials (LinkedIn calls them Recommendations) as you can.
- Expert marketer Luan Wise (who has been hired twice by LinkedIn to write courses for them) has a great free 7-day email challenge to get your LinkedIn profile to an All Star status.
- I have a Pinterest board full of fantastic curated content on how to use Linkedin here.